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Styrian know-how: a hydrogen-based engine for racing cars - an AVL innovation

Styrian know-how: a hydrogen-based engine for racing cars – an AVL innovation

A racing engine from Styria that aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of racing engines. AVL Racetech, a division of the Graz-based AVL Technology Group, has developed and built its own hydrogen combustion engine, transferring the water-injection principle to a 2-liter hydrogen-powered turbocharged engine, AVL Racetech announced on Tuesday.

In its more than 20-year history, the AVL Motorsport division has built its first racing engine – hydrogen-powered (H2). “With AVL Racetech, we are pioneers in many aspects of motorsport and have now decided to also be pioneers in the field of hydrogen combustion engines,” said Ellen Loehr, motorsport director of the Graz-based mobility technology company. The new engine is expected to be introduced in the spring of 2023.

Unlike other hydrogen stoves

Unlike other hydrogen combustion engines, which typically run with a high level of excess air (the so-called lean run, note) and thus generate relatively little power, the new racing engine can only generate a power level of about 150 kilowatts per liter. Slightly skimpy process. Thus, the turbocharged engine is in a range that today’s production-based customer sport classes are moving into. To achieve this result, additional water is injected into the engine’s intake air via an injector. This increases the boost pressure. The vaporizing liquid also has a strong cooling effect in the combustion chamber.

When designing the necessary injectors and valves, the Graz developers made use of accurate knowledge of the overall system behavior with all air, fuel and exhaust gas flows, which AVL obtains with the help of proven simulation models and 3D flow calculations. It also forms the basis for ensuring that motorsports safety requirements are met and the engine’s mechanical limits are not exceeded, according to the company.

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“It is a very complex technical challenge to achieve motorsport-level performance values ​​with an H2 combustion engine. But our prototype shows that it is possible,” says project manager Paul Kappos.

AVL Racetech – formerly AVL Racing – has been active in all technical areas of motorsport for over 20 years. The division works with customers in around 20 racing series around the world in engineering, testing, simulation and manufacturing. Motorsport is used as a “platform for innovations” and the knowledge gained to develop road vehicles will be passed on to future generations of mobility.

10,700 employees worldwide

According to AVL List GmbH, with more than 10,700 employees worldwide, it is the world’s largest independent company for the development, simulation and testing of drive systems in the automotive sector and in other industries. In 2021, the company generated €1.6 billion in sales, of which 12% flowed into research and development activities.